NAUGATUCK — A West Hartford business is looking to represent Naugatuck when it comes to augmented reality advertising in the virtual world.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses experienced a little virtual reality during its Jan. 7 meeting with the help of Adam Reiser, director of business development for Nucleus Augmented Reality.
Reiser directed board members to google the image of a dog on their cell phones. Then, using their cell phones, he made the digital image of the dog appear as if it was in the Hall of Burgesses when members looked through their camera apps.
This is just one example of augmented reality, which is the display of a digital image and data on a smartphone or headset superimposed over a real-world environment. Another example of the use of augmented reality is the popular mobile game, Pokémon Go.
Reiser believes this technology will grow and become more popular, especially with the advent of the more powerful wireless network, 5G, which will open up the possibility for augmented reality advertising.
“This technology by 2023 is expected to be a $150 billion industry. This is really that next big step in technology,” Reiser said.
Reiser proposed a deal to the board where his company would represent and negotiate on Naugatuck’s behalf when it comes to potential augmented reality advertising in public spaces. Under the proposal, the company would take 12% of any advertising revenue it generates for the borough.
There are no upfront costs for the borough, and the proposed agreement can be opened and terminated at any time, he said.
“This potentially can go nowhere,” Reiser said. “This technology can never become as big as I think it’s going to be, but I’m 99% sure it’s going to be really big, so we’re trying to get up ahead of it.”
Reiser believes it’s important to get out in front of this burgeoning technology and for municipalities to take control over their property rights in augmented reality.
“Anywhere that is town property, people could be using augmented reality and seeing these ads,” Reiser said. “In order to control the type of content that’s being displayed, it’ll be important to have some type of agreement in place with these advertising networks beforehand.”
Reiser said he has agreements in place with New London, Plainville, Coventry, Ellington and Bolton, and has met with Torrington officials.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses referred the proposal to its legal counsel. The board is expected to discuss it later this month at a possible special meeting or in February.
“It seems like we have nothing to lose and a chance to gain additional unforeseen revenue,” Hess said. “So, because of that, I’m going to take a close look at it, and if there is a way to capture new revenue, we will pursue it.”